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Yemen chaos spotlights failure in nation White House hailed as foreign policy success
Chaos in Yemen is leading to even greater Middle East instability, shines the spotlight of failure on a nation President Obama hailed as a foreign policy success just four months ago and forces an even tougher negotiating position with the Iranians, according to retired U.S. Navy Capt. Chuck Nash.
As he laid out his approach to confronting the Islamic State, or ISIS, in September, Obama cited numerous operations targeting terrorists in Yemen as a major success of his effort to take the fight to the terrorists.
“We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al-Qaida’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Obama said. “We’ve targeted al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia.”
Nash said that’s looking pretty bad in hindsight.
“It just adds to the overall instability and the mess that the Middle East has become ever since the Arab Spring,” he said. “This was the knife in the heart of Yemen, which the president has been holding out as a way of modeling our success post-Arab Spring.”
Yemen has a complicated history in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism. Even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, al-Qaida attacked the USS Cole as it refueled in Yemen, killing 17 Navy personnel. Since 9/11, the Yemeni government sporadically assisted in the fight against al-Qaida even as the terror group’s Yemeni chapter, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, grew in size and effectiveness. The U.S. has conducted numerous drone strikes in Yemen, including the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American citizen who inspired the Fort Hood massacre and the attempted Christmas Day underwear bombing of an international flight. Even years after his death, AQAP credits al-Awlaki with planning the deadly Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris earlier this month.
Ali Abdullah Saleh was effectively forced from power during the Arab Spring after losing support from the U.S. and other Western nations. His vice president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, was forced to resign last week as Iranian-backed Houthi rebels stormed much of the capital and forced most of the government to step down. Nash said while the Houthis are kindred spirits with the Iranians, they are their own group with their own ambitions.
“They’re co-religionists with the Iranians, because they will help just about any Shiite group in the region, has backed them, helped them get weapons and we can expect that the Iranians will fully leverage any opening they get with these guys,” Nash said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with retired U.S. Navy Capt. Chuck Nash:
Nash believes the greatest potential mischief of the Houthis can be seen on the map.
“It’s a 900-mile coastline. It starts up in the Red Sea and then swings around into the Indian Ocean,” he explained. “It sits astride that Red Sea opening that leads to the Suez Canal. A tremendous amount of the world’s shipping goes right past Yemen. As you’ll remember, that’s where the USS Cole was bombed some years ago. It’s a very choke-point country.”
Yemen also lies next to Saudi Arabia, which is engaged in economic warfare by tanking the price of oil to fiscally cripple the Iranians. The Saudis are also transitioning to a new king after Thursday’s death of King Abdullah.
“Now you have the new king in there, and he is unwilling to tighten down the oil spigot,” Nash said. “So keeping that oil spigot open is a direct financial threat to the Iranians, to the point that the prime minister of Iran has made threats to the countries [that] he believes are waging economic warfare against Iran.”
So how should the instability in Yemen impact the Obama administration’s posture toward Iran and its nuclear program? Nash said Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry need to take a much tougher line.
“We have enabled our enemies to so accurately judge our position because they know all they have to do is stand firm and we will try to meet them halfway to an unreasonable position, which means our position will become less and less reasonable and closer toward theirs,” he said.
Nash said the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had some advice the Obama administration would be wise to accept.
“The Iron Lady was once asked, ‘What do you think is the lesson of the 20th century?’ and Margaret Thatcher said, ‘I would think that the greatest lesson of the 20th century is one cannot appease dictators if one values the lives of the innocent.’”
He said the Obama administration is going in the opposite direction.
“We are a country that’s all about freedom. We’ve been trying to export freedom. We’re not going to turn countries into Jeffersonian democracies, but we would like to stand for some basic human rights and do things where we can all sleep well and be comfortable in our own skins at night,” Nash said.
“That’s not what the Iranians are about. That’s not what al-Qaida is about, and that’s not what the Islamic State is about. They are direct threats to all of humanity They have to be dealt with and dealt with sternly. Weakness just breeds greater problems.”
Bruce Jenner’s transition into living as a woman has reportedly been planned for more than a year. The former Olympian and current reality TV star is said to have begun physical and psychological preparation for months, according to a new TMZ report.
Bruce Jenner’s transition into living as a woman has reportedly been planned for more than a year. The former Olympian and current reality TV star is said to have begun physical and psychological preparation for months, according to a new TMZ report. Jenner’s initial denials that gender transition or a sex change was the impetus for procedures like his laryngal shave (to smooth his Adam’s apple) were reportedly part of a plan to delay conversation about the process until it was further along.
The outlet says a transgender community leader has known about Jenner’s transition for “way more than a year,” but that he wanted a gradual public acknowledgment of the change rather than an abrupt bombshell. News broke this week that Jenner is preparing an E! docu-series about his journey, set to air this spring or summer. While the exact nature of the procedures and counseling Jenner has had remains unknown, his official announcement of his transition to his family is believed to have been filmed last month for the upcoming show.
As Gossip Cop previously reported, Jenner’s children are said to be generally supportive of his transition, although their acceptance and understanding of his decision ranges across a “spectrum,” according to our insider. Earlier this week, Kim Kardashian referred to Jenner’s “journey” in an interview, and it’s expected that his other family members will gradually speak about the matter as his E! show gets closer.
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